Breaking: Eric Holder Blocks SC Voter ID, Texas Next

Eric Holder has blocked South Carolina’s voter ID law. Hans von Spakovsky and I have been predicting this was going to happen for over eight months here at PJ Media. The only surprising thing is that no halftime adjustments were made after it became even clearer an objection was on the way. Texas now faces the same dilemma. Sadly, I’m not convinced Texas understands the battlefield or the stakes involved.


Attorney General Abbot says on Twitter that “Texas will be next. We’ll fight to the end for ballot integrity.”

If true, then pull the Texas voter ID submission now, tonight, by fax, and go to federal court now, on your terms.

I don’t believe these state officials understand the effect of an objection by the Justice Department. Anybody who has been around these issues regularly, as compared with dabbling in them from time to time, knows the effect of the Scarlet O, the objection.

The first thing that happens is the civil rights industry goes crazy.  They hold a victory celebration in the media, and change the litigation environment if the state ever decides to go to court.  Secondly, the de novo review is a fiction. People in the civil rights industry, and inside Justice, know that once the attorney general has objected, the rules of the game have changed in any future court fight.

Lawyers in Austin and Columbia might have thought an objection carries zero widgets of weight in a subsequent federal court effort to obtain preclearance.  They think a de novo review means a de novo review.  Instead, an objection has about 100 widgets of weight – political, public relations, perception weight, and yes, even silent legal weight.

Therein lies the tragedy. Watching these states submit voter identification to the Justice Department, instead of going to court where they can get a more impartial review, reminds me of the Polish horsemen rushing toward German tanks in September 1939.  Unlike the brave Polish cavalry, these states actually think they stand a chance.


The way to save Texas voter ID is to withdraw the objection, immediately, and file in federal court on Tuesday.  The way to save South Carolina voter ID is to file in court immediately.  Stop wasting time with the corrupt leftist bureaucrats at the Justice Department. In case you haven’t read my book Injustice, the people reviewing voter ID literally had Obama campaign posters hanging on their walls at the Justice Department.  I have photos of their offices in my book.

There is nothing “honorable” about sacrificing voter integrity on the altar of process. File in court. The law says you can, and there is nothing “dishonorable” about it.  Attorney General Eric Holder came to Austin and told you precisely what he was going to do.  Don’t give him a chance.

Think it is obvious voter ID should be approved? Think again.

To those people who think the issue is so easy, including Tabella at my own blog, this issue is not as simple as you think, and Republicans are to blame.  In 2006, Congress changed the standard that governs the reviews.  I will have more on this another day.  In 2006, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) led a charge to alter the standard of review that both shifts burdens on the state to prove a negative, but also allows any discriminatory effect to support an objection.  Read the word “any” three times over.  Any means greater than zero, and that’s precisely the approach this Justice Department is taking.


Republicans who only see Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act through the lens of redistricting supported Sensenbrenner’s change. They figured it would lead to more Republican seats in Congress.  Here is roll call vote. A few Republicans like Steve King, Trent Franks, Lynn Westmoreland, and Joe Barton opposed it. It was one thing simply to extend the law which was set to expire, it was quite another to do what Sensenbrenner insisted upon and that is the change of the standard to “any.”  DOJ is using “any” to block voter ID.

Now the nation reaps the whirlwind ahead of 2012.


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